Joy (2015)

This is a messy, messy movie. There’s interesting elements in there (Lawrence’s performance is generally strong, the production value is high, the cast generally works well together), but the whole thing just feels sour to me. It’s ugly. Not visually, but the story here, it’s just a mess…I was hoping for some sort of interesting…

Hard Eight (Sydney) (1996)

A very stylish Paul Thomas Anderson film. Is it Hard Eight, or Sydney? The Australian in me wants the latter, but Hard Eight is more descriptive. Titles aside, it’s not a masterful triumph like some of PTA’s later films, but it’s certainly a good film in its own right. It starts slow, and spends plenty…

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” might have been the Coens film explicitly following the Odyssey, but “Inside Llewyn Davis” follows it in many ways as well, notably in its fascinating non-linear story structure. The beginning and ending of the film, to my mind, illustrate the cyclical nature of self-sabotage, failure, depression…I don’t view the film…

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985) by Patrick Süskind

A fascinating novel. Very evocative prose, revolving around descriptions rarely used in literature, all focused on scents. The novel is interesting, it’s different, it’s macabre, it’s original, it’s unique. Can’t say I particularly enjoyed reading it in the strictest sense, especially as I often found the descriptions too sickening to fully appreciate the craft behind…

True Grit (2010)

I’m surprised the Coens felt compelled to make a remake. Much as I enjoyed this film, I can’t deny I’d have rather them try something original…then again, No Country for Old Men was a novel adaptation, and one of their greatest films. So whatever works for the Coens, I suppose I’m down with. This film…

True Grit (1969)

An enjoyable western. The characters and the cast were the highlight for me. John Wayne and Kim Darby excel as Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross. The film is very easy to love. It’s a simple revenge tale, but one told very well, with very well-done characters. I give it three rangers, and some fine horse-trading.

A Serious Man (2009)

Perhaps my favourite Coens film. A brilliant meditation on faith and uncertainty. I know little of the Jewish faith, but the film worked excellently for me anyway, as a kind of modern retelling of the book of Job. Does God exist? The film grapples with this through Schrodinger’s cat paradox. Obviously the film can’t answer…